On Poetry and Politics

On Poetry and Politics

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Description

Jean Paulhan was a legendary editorial figure of twentieth-century French literature, assisting and publishing many of the most important writers of his lifetime. He was also the author of several volumes of fiction and numerous essays dealing with literature, art, rhetoric, and language. Yet he published his own work in a manner that deliberately kept it inconspicuous, or as Maurice Blanchot put it, \u0022in the margins.\u0022 A critics' critic, he gave his texts the same scrupulous attention he gave to others, and was recognized as a discreet master. But when he was sufficiently upset or angry, as he was when French politics endangered the intellectual freedom of French writers and writing, he published ferociously. This volume is the first English translation of these major essays, presenting in one book the development of his thinking on his most studied subject: how language works, or, to echo Blanchot again, how literature is possible. Much of contemporary literary theory finds its modern antecedents in Paulhan's essays. He reflected on large questions such as the philosophy and psychology of literature, while at the same time showing a concern for detail and aesthetic accomplishment. He constantly emphasized the act of reading as an activity and literature as the engagement and provocation of such activity. Beloved by writers because he took the problems of writing with the utmost seriousness, his own personal style was marked by self-effacement and irony.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 149.86 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 362.87g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252032802
  • 9780252032806
  • 1,648,833

Review quote

"On Poetry and Politics offers an excellent sample of [Paulhan's] essays in translations that combine accuracy and felicity."--Contemporary French Civilization "Paulhan had significant impact on late contemporary literary criticism, including structuralism and deconstruction. . . . These essays enhance the historical perspective on poststructuralist critical theory. . . . Recommended."--Choiceshow more

About Jean Paulhan

Jean Paulhan (1884-1968) is often referred to as the "grey eminence" of the publishing world in France, where he played a central role in literary and intellectual life. He was editor of Nouvelle Revue Francaise from 1925 to 1940, and under his direction it became the most influential literary journal of interwar France. Among the authors he encouraged, edited, and published are Antonin Artaud, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus. A writer in his own right, Paulhan received the Grand Prix de Litterature of the Academie Francaise in 1951 and was elected to the Academie Francaise in 1963.Jennifer Bajorek is a lecturer in cultural studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, and has translated work by Sarah Kofman and Jacques Derrida. Charlotte Mandell has translated work by Maurice Blanchot, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jean Genet, and Jacques Ranciere, among others. Eric Trudel is an assistant professor of French at Bard College and is the author of La terreur a l'oeuvre: Theorie, poetique et ethique chez Jean Paulhan.show more